by Trish Riley
13th January, 2020
Bobo Qi: Driving change with heart
Hailing originally from the north-eastern city of Harbin, China - a thriving metropolis of 10 million people and well-known for its beautiful winter ice and snow sculpture festival and Russian legacy, Bobo Qi, co-founder and sales director of Property Bridge begins her story by telling me that her family is quite different from traditional Chinese families – for one, she is the youngest of five children (the one-child policy was introduced after her birth), and secondly, that both her parents were actively involved in business as far back as she can remember.
“My parents were involved in a wholesale business and a gas supply business” says Bobo. “As I grew up, I worked in the business so I think sales and customer service are in my blood.”
Bobo goes on to say that she was always interested in different cultures and lifestyles, and that it was this that drew her away from China when she was old enough.
Together with her nephew, who is a few years younger, she travelled to Kuala Lumpur to live and study.
In 2001, Bobo was accepted to study technology at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and when she wasn’t studying officially, she was learning as much as she could about Western culture from her New Zealand ‘home-stay’ mom, who she remains close to. “I went back to Harbin every year,” recalls Bobo, “and could not believe how China was changing. The pace of development was incredible, and technology was driving it all.
“There is no such thing as a "good" or "bad" business. The key to any successful sale is for me to be the "match maker" and marry up a suitable buyer to each unique business proposition.”
“I love both my countries,” Bobo adds passionately, “but Australia is home now, and provides a wonderful platform in which we have built a strong and thriving business. I also have my own family and friends here now.”
Bobo met Darren Brent – co-founder and managing director of Property Bridge, while in New Zealand. He was working for ANZ at the time but wanted to move to the Gold Coast to pursue a management rights opportunity.
The intrepid pair returned to the coast to take up the management rights for Villas Tijuana in Robina, and the die was cast.
In time Bobo was offered a position as a sales executive with the established and well-respected management rights sales agency, ‘Property Pacific’. She took to the role with ease and quickly became one of the high-performing management rights sales brokers. Sadly, the agency’s principal passed away and the long-time agency later closed.
Boboʼs warmth, boundless energy, enthusiasm and dedication has endeared her to management rights operators, buyers and industry professionals alike. Her tireless efforts to establish and support a vast network of sellers and buyers has resulted in outstanding success as a high achieving, well respected and prominent management rights broker in the Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne markets.
“As a former onsite manager herself, she understands the opportunities and challenges in dealing with committee members, owners and tenants and regularly passes on her day-to-day operational experience to her clients; especially new entrants to the industry. “It’s important for me that all parties understand what they are getting into,” she says.
“Everything I do is based on trust – There is no such thing as a "good" or "bad" business. The key to any successful sale is for me to be the "match maker" and marry up a suitable buyer to each unique business proposition.”
Bobo and Darren established 'Property Bridge', now widely recognised as one of the most enthusiastic and dedicated broking firms in the industry.
The tight-knit Property Bridge team pride themselves on developing sound relationships with their clients.
They also offer bespoke services including industry consultation, market conditions as well as offering unapparelled post-settlement guidance to ensure buyers receive any expert service they require.
Passionate about the industry and wanting to give a voice to the Chinese members, Bobo is also an active member of the Australian Resident Accommodation Managers Association (ARAMA) and her recent re-election for a second term as board member is reflective of the high regard in which she is held.
She has assisted ARAMA in facilitating the inaugural Chinese-Australian manager’s seminars on the Gold Coast and Brisbane and is always in demand to host management rights seminars with other industry professionals.
In a move that has earned her the nickname of Bobo Jie (big sister), she has also established a ‘Management Rights Managers Group’ – of over 700 Chinese-Australian managers and partners that offers an informal and free of charge platform by which to assist managers in sharing industry legislation, information, trade contacts and other aspects of the industry.
A highlight of each year is the well-attended Christmas picnic gathering of managers and their families that allows people to put faces to names and socialise outside the work environment.
“I believe that If you do good, people will come,” says Bobo. “There is great power in the collective and if we work together, sharing information and building each other up we will all be successful.
“There are a number of factors behind being successful,” she adds, “hard work is a given, but one also has to be entrepreneurial, to keep learning and be willing to help others.”
When asked how she sees the management rights market going forward, Bobo is positive.
“From an industry standpoint, the general consensus was that 2019 was a slightly tougher market than we have seen for some time,” she says.
“There were however, a number of factors that we can attribute this to. External factors include the economy, the USA/China trade war and a high unemployment rate. Internal factors include the election, the Royal Commission and impact on the funding and mortgage process and the idiosyncrasies of the assignment process.
These factors impact most businesses not just management rights, and we just need to adapt and keep moving forward.
“As far as the future goes, tourism remains a very important part of the economy,” says Bobo.
“Management rights is fairly cyclical and there is a high level of transition, but as the safest going-concern business model in Australia, it’s always going to do well.
“If we are all committed to implementing improvement – from the initial point of enquiry through to property handover and the provision of ongoing support – then we will be building an industry that is not just sustainable but flourishing.”